Denny’s Daily Zinger: Can You Acquire Instant Charisma?

Click to enlarge this chart in which the Wall Street Journal provides career advice.

The Macmillan Dictionary defines charisma as: NOUN/ ka ‘rizzma—a strong personal quality that makes other people like you and be attracted to you.
The Wall Street Journal‘s Elizabeth Holmes wrote a 1,296-word essay titled:

How to Develop Your Personal Presence on Social Media and in Real Life
Presence, a Mix of How You Look, How You Communicate and How You Behave, Influences Your Social Stature and Ability to Climb the Ranks

Included were a slew of tips on developing: “Your authentic self, combining strength and warmth.” “The ability to express your point of view in an effective way.” “A concise and compelling speaking style matters most, especially when it isn’t scripted.” “Confident body language and eye contact help you command a room, as does finding a low register for your speaking voice.” “Consistency is critical—even though being consistent is difficult in our always-connected lives.”

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

In nearly 79 years, I have met many charismatic people. The one trait they all shared: They always listened with great intensity to what the other person said. My opinion: People with charisma make the individual with whom they are talking feel like the most important person in the room. Indeed, the world! Peggy and I once spent 8 seconds in a photo-op with Bill Clinton. He made us believe his entire life and career were spent in preparation to meet us. That’s charisma! Nowhere in this fatuous Wall Street Journal piece did the writer use the words “listen” or “hear.”

Denny Hatch’s new book is “Write Everything Right!” Wes [Wesley Murph, The Marketing Maniac] writes, “I was just dropping you a line to let you know that I totally ‘dig’ your new book. I haven’t gotten through it all. But what I have read, I love. In particular, I really enjoy your style. You call a spade a spade. And what’s cool is nine times out of 10, you’re dead on the money. Keep up the great work!” Click here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach Denny at

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Related Content
  • Reg Doherty

    Communication is 93% non-verbal. People form a first impression of another in the first four seconds and pretty much have them all figured out in the first thirty seconds! Anything different after that only makes them still cling to that first impression. There’s that maxim, “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression.” I suppose this all has to do with survival skills in our first ancestors.

  • Tim Orr

    Absolutely, Denny! I remember a TV series years ago in which an art teacher steps up to a student’s easel and says, “What are you doing?” The student responds, “I am trying to develop a style.” The teacher then says, “Why not just try to draw the very best you can, and let the inadequacy of your vision supply the style?”

    And, as Emerson so famously said, “What you are shouts so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.”

    What the WSJ article seems to be saying to women is, “You are not good enough, but if you get the right ‘accessories,’ you can at least appear to be good enough.”

  • Greenman47

    The same is true of Arianna Huffington. We spent a few minutes talking and for her I was the only person in the crowded ballroom. She pays attention in spades!